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Published: June 28th 2016
Well this week has been another busy week here in Rugazi. This was our fourth week here, and originally was going to be the last week for all the Canadian students. However, since the Ugandan students are staying another 5 weeks there are 5 Canadians who have decided to extend our stay here in Rugazi. We will be staying an extra 11 days and returning to Mbarara July 7 to join with the rest of the group working in the hospital there. We parted ways with Brooklyn and Britany on Saturday, who are now both in Mbarara and will be starting work at the hospital on Monday.
I’m sure you are all wondering what we got up to this past week, so let me (Dayna) take you through our adventures. Sunday was Father’s day and Rugazi Group A, spearheaded by Carrie, worked very hard to lead a campaign at the local kindergarten to highlight the importance of fathers in the community. On Sunday, Group A and Group B headed to the school and handed out the Father’s Day cards we had helped the kids make on Friday and support badges for everyone to wear. There was a presentation prepared
Remmy and Ambrose talking with the parents
to explain Father’s Day and the important role that fathers play in the family. I can only speak for myself, but listening to their talk made me very much miss my dad back home in Canada and I particularly enjoyed my phone call home that night. The day was a great success and it was so fun to watch the parents get their cards and see the pictures their kids had drawn.
On Sunday afternoon Joline, Britany, and I went to the House of Love Orphanage to see the children. It was our first time there, and the staff were so welcoming. They gave us a tour, offered us refreshments, and allowed us to spend the afternoon playing games with the kids. We played lots of games that required running, including drip-drip-drop. This game is similar to duck-duck-goose, except that you get either a drip of water on your head, or a DROP of water. It was a lot of fun to play with the kids, lots of them liked to come and hold your hand or have a cuddle. They are always smiling and giggling.
The rest of the week involved some very hard work
at the Health Centre. The medical students from Kampala International University (KIU) left Rugazi on Saturday so the only remaining students are nurses from KIU, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) students, us, and the first year students from Mulago who live in the dorms next to ours. Brooklyn and Carrie spent the week in the inpatient wards, which were full of patients. They were kept busy giving medications, doing assessments and attempting to add some order to the chaos of patient records in the department. Each patient has a notebook that contains all their assessments, doctor’s orders and the Ugandan version of a MAR (medication administration record). These notebooks are not organized by ward and some don’t even have the patient’s name on the front. Also, pretty much all the books go with the doctor (or med student) when they do rounds so you can’t tell if anyone is supposed to have medications during that time.
Joline was in labour and delivery this week, but since it wasn’t very busy, she helped Britany and myself in the Out Patient Department (OPD). OPD was significantly more challenging this week as the KIU students had been seeing all
Prescription Cheat Sheet
This is the standard treatment of Malaria which we used a lot in the clinic this week!
the patients there the past few weeks and in their absence there wasn’t really anyone to step in other than us. When we arrived Monday morning the KIU nursing students were staffing the front desk, dispensary and assessing and diagnosing patients. It became apparent that we would never be able to see all the patients with only one nurse seeing patients so Britany and I were quickly promoted to doctors. We worked all week in very interdisciplinary teams each of us pairing with a local student who could speak the language and bouncing ideas off each other on how best to help our patients. Julius, who is a pharmacy student who can speak the language, was a great help as neither of us knew dosages for the medications or even what was available. When there were challenging cases Steve or Martha (MUST medical students) were asked for their opinion, or one of the clinic officers who work here could sometimes be tracked down to assist. I think we all faced some challenges with having our role in the clinic be so far out of our comfort zone, but it was definitely a good learning opportunity. I learned how to quickly
assess, think critically about the questions I was asking and then to determine how best to treat the patient. Many patients come to the clinic with simple colds that we would just treat in Canada with some NyQuil and rest. The problem here is that people can’t afford over the counter medicine and the clinic is meant to provide medications, in these cases once malaria was ruled out the best we could do was Tylenol to bring down their fever and order rest and fluids. It was definitely the hardest we have worked since we arrived here in Rugazi and there were many days where we were over an hour late for lunch. It felt very good to work so hard but I am definitely dreading the day that the KIU nursing students leave and it is just our team and the Mulago students remaining.
On Friday, Joline and Britany made another visit to Kingfisher pool for Britany to enjoy her last taste of their sought-after masala chips. In the evening, we went out dancing as a send-off for the Muzungu (Canadians) leaving on Saturday. We went all the way into town to a club that Steve-O and
Julius had been told about. The entrance to the club was down a small alleyway and I definitely had my doubts that it was going to be a place we wanted to be, but then it opened into one of the most amazing discos I’ve been to! It was an open air club that looked almost like an amphitheatre, with a big stage at the front and then three levels of dance floors all built of stone with stone steps in between. At the top there were covered tables to sit at and the bar. We had a great time dancing the night away and even got some dance lessons from the locals who can definitely “shake it” better than any of us! We were vastly entertaining with our lack of rhythm and inability to move our hips the way they can.
On Saturday a whole group of us including Me, Joline, Carrie, Jillian and 5 of the Ugandan students went to the House of Love Orphanage for another visit. We played games again and had such a great time. Most of us ended up getting soaked with water in the festivities. We are all hoping that we
get to go back again before we leave here and some of the Canadians are planning on donating clothes or bedding to the orphanage. The children stay until they are 18 so there are a few older girls who hopefully can make use of some of our clothes. Saturday night Joline and Tenielle (a nutrition student) gave me a haircut, it was a little nerve wracking but has turned out great!
On Sunday we went for a hike to a crater lake that is near the health center. We were able to hike down and get to the shore which offered some amazing views and great picture opportunities. When we arrived there was a fairly enthusiastic baptism going on in the lake, we all watched in fascination and afterward were offered to be baptized. We all politely declined but it was an interesting activity to watch. We have already begun preparations for Canada Day next week and will be including/forcing the Ugandans to join us for our celebrations!
Well I think that’s all for this week, thanks for reading and hope you continue to follow our adventures as we continue to enjoy our time here in
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